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Cost of living crunch prompts one-in-three to cancel streaming subscriptions in last six months

While House of the Dragon, Stranger Things or the latest Marvel offering may still represent must-see viewing for Canadians, households across the country are making hard choices about which shows – and the subscription they require – they enjoy most.

As subscription costs increase, streaming platforms threaten to crack down on password sharing and even introduce advertisements, new data from the Angus Reid Institute finds one-in-three Canadians have cancelled at least one service in the past six months. For at least half, these cancellations are in direct response to a persistent and ongoing cost of living crisis roiling households.

Others say they have made cuts to their subscription portfolio because they weren’t using certain services as much (39%) or that the selection wasn’t up to par (24%).

While these decisions may represent a current setback for streaming service providers, the overall trend in viewing is still working largely in their favour.

More than four-in-five (85%) now say they have at least one streaming service subscription, up from approximately half in 2016.

Conversely, as Canadians continue to move toward the on-demand model, just three-in-five now say they subscribe to cable or satellite TV. This represents a five-point drop from 2018 and a 27-point drop over the past decade. For Canadians over the age of 54, this traditional viewership model remains a much bigger part of life – four-in-five (82%) say they still subscribe. Half as many 18- to 34-year-olds say the same (41%).

More key findings:

  • Nearly one-in-five Canadians (17%) say they have at least four streaming service subscriptions. Approaching one-quarter (23%) say they currently have three.
  • Landline use has now halved over the course of the last decade. In 2013, 79 per cent of Canadians said they had a landline in their house, now just 36 per cent say this.
  • Two-in-five (38%) landline users say they are probably or definitely going to do away with this service in the future. Those who maintain it, most likely to be older Canadians, say that it allows them to feel safer in an emergency (39%) and that they still receive calls from friends and family in this way (38%).

Angus Reid

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